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4. Time Synchronization‌

NTP is a TCP/IP protocol for synchronizing time over a network. Basically a client requests the current time from a server, and uses it to set its own clock.

Behind this simple description, there is a lot of complexity - there are tiers of NTP servers, with the tier one NTP servers connected to atomic clocks, and tier two and three servers spreading the load of actually handling requests across the Internet. Also the client software is a lot more complex than you might think - it has to factor out communication delays, and adjust the time in a way that does not upset all the other processes that run on the server. But luckily all that complexity is hidden from you!

Ubuntu by default uses timedatectl / timesyncd to synchronize time and users can optionally use chrony to

Section 4.2, “Serve the Network Time Protocol” [p. 56].


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